Treadmill test is a kind of stress test that makes use of treadmill exercise. The test helps a doctor to find how well the heart works under physical stress. It can be used a diagnostic procedure for many heart problems. Usually, treadmill test is used in diagnosing coronary heart disease (CHD, also called Coronary Artery Disease). It can also find the severity of CHD in the patients. Other problems that a stress test can detect are:
- Abnormal heart rate.
- Abnormal blood pressure.
- Abnormal heart rhythm.
- Symptoms like chest pain or shortness of breath.
Individuals having arthritis or other medical conditions who cannot give a treadmill test, the doctor will give medicines to make the heart work hard and avoid treadmill exercise. The treadmill stress test is usually done in a doctor’s office. The patient can wear comfortable clothes during the test. Eating and drinking water are prohibited for a short period before the test. Diabetic patients have to adjust their medications on the day of the test.
During the test, a technician or nurse will assist and check the health status of the patient. A kind of sticky patches, known as electrodes are attached to the skin of arms, chest and legs of the patient. To attach them conveniently, the nurse or technician may shave a portion of hair on the skin. The electrodes are then connected to the electrocardiogram machine. The EKG machine records the electrical actions of the heart. During the test, the nurse or technician also checks the blood pressure by putting a blood pressure cuff on the arm. The treadmill exercise will continue until it reaches at a target heart rate. The test may last up to 15 minutes. Heart function and blood pressure check up will continue even after the treadmill test.
The doctor can give first line results of the test quickly before the patient leaves the laboratory. The official results may take a few days to complete. According to the results, the doctor can determine whether the patient has a heart disease or not. The doctor will suggest treatment options or further diagnostic tests based on the result.